Applying Lessons Learned from MOOCs to the Traditional Classroom (Data, Baby, Data!)
A breathtakingly short hype cycle prematurely sounded the death knell for massive open online courses (MOOCs) while overlooking the value that they bring to the table: massive data that describe the convergence of teaching, learning, and technology at scale. The University of Colorado has been a Coursera partner since 2013 and, in the course of developing dozens of courses, specializations, and even for-credit certificates on the platform, has gleaned principles of learning design from the nearly 2 million learners who have signed up for its MOOCs. Analysis of data and Coursera’s own A/B testing has given hints about how to best retain and assess the learning of the largely “volunteer” learners in MOOCs. Many of these lessons in learning design at scale can and rightly should be applied to the design of face-to-face, hybrid, and “traditional” online courses. They also bear a striking resemblance to the basics of learning design: knowing the learning audience, knowing and contextualizing what they need to learn (and how we can best determine whether or not they’ve learned it), providing community and expert feedback and coaching.